Tell HN: Thank you for being fast, almost ad-free and text-only

1042 points | by nojvek 11 days ago

49 comments

  • kibwen 11 days ago
    As others will be quick to point out, HN does have ads in the form of job postings for YCombinator startups that are delivered inline with the links on the front page. That said, it's relatively unobtrusive. And of course, the existence of HN is a large part of the marketing for YCombinator itself. Personally, I'll commend dang for doing a high-effort job at moderation, and tolerating all the dunking on Paul Graham that we do.
    • tiotempestade 11 days ago
      > As others will be quick to point out, HN does have ads in the form of job postings for YCombinator startups that are delivered inline with the links on the front page.

      The way all ads should be? :)

      Succinct, relevant and unobtrusive

      • eliasdaler 11 days ago
        The ads should be clearly marked as ads, in my opinion.

        I hate when social media sites hide ads by making them look like regular posts. It’s a dark pattern.

        • wkat4242 10 days ago
          They're marked as job postings which is really what they are. Nobody will look at them unless they're looking for a job and if so, why not?

          It's a very different story from ads on other social networks imo.

      • barbs 11 days ago
        And non-tracking!
    • amelius 11 days ago
      But ... these job postings are difficult to discern from other posts. At least Google puts "Ad" in front of ads ...
      • guntherhermann 11 days ago
        A giveaway is that you can't comment on them :)
        • capableweb 11 days ago
          Nor do they have points, you can't upvote or flag them. They do stick out a bit and are easy to ignore.
          • bambax 11 days ago
            You can hide them though.
      • dredmorbius 11 days ago
        There are several userscripts to block those.

        <https://github.com/brownie-in-motion/hn-adblock>, discussed: <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31597486>

        Another: <https://gist.github.com/pxeger/4aed4baaa87028a2ecc6441a84a1f...>

        (I've used neither.)

        I've briefly looked into managing these through CSS alone. Not obviously that I can tell, though the text of job listings should match the pattern:

          <company> (YC <class> ) Is Hiring <position>
        
        I think CSS can act based on content, but need to look at selectors for that.

        SO suggests not: <https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1520429/is-there-a-css-s...>

        HN doesn't assign a distinctive class to these posts, though the "votelinks" class is missing, which can be used to highlight the listings. E.g.:

          /* HN startup job ads */
        
          .athing td:nth-of-type(2):not(.votelinks) {
              background: #fcc;
          }
        
          .athing td:nth-of-type(2):not(.votelinks):before {
              content: "Ad";
              position: relative;
              left: 0.4em;
              color: #000;
          } 
        
        (Other properties might be set.)

        I'd need to futz with this some more to see if the entire entry could be dropped, though I'd prefer to simply have them stand out, I think...

        • eipi10_hn 9 days ago
          If you are using ublock, you can use these filters

              news.ycombinator.com##.athing:not(:has(.votelinks))
              news.ycombinator.com##.athing:not(:has(.votelinks)) + tr
              news.ycombinator.com##.athing:not(:has(.votelinks)) + tr + tr
      • _Algernon_ 11 days ago
        Putting an ad with text color #FEFEFE on a white background doesn't do much.
    • jedberg 11 days ago
      > and tolerating all the dunking on Paul Graham that we do.

      Who wouldn't enjoy some friendly ribbing of their boss's boss? :)

      • jamal-kumar 11 days ago
        Jeff Bezos should consider a haircut
    • 29athrowaway 11 days ago
      It is done with a lot for respect for the reader, and in a non intrusive way.

      There's no profiling or targeting of users. Everyone sees the same ads.

    • henning 11 days ago
      True, but those job ads are text-only and unlikely to contain malware. Normal web ads are the opposite in both regards.
    • slim 11 days ago
      Not sure jobs are the only form of advertising. Sometimes I feel like some domain names like substack are pumped up
    • Rooster61 11 days ago
      Ads that I won't see unless I actually have interest in them? That's not very web 5.0...
    • vlunkr 11 days ago
      Those ads are also very likely to be relevant to HN users relative to typical internet ads.
    • 93po 11 days ago
      I use hckrnews.com and everyone else should too. Not seeing those ads is a nice side effect
    • notTechbut 11 days ago
      [flagged]
    • colesantiago 11 days ago
      There should be a way to remove all ads from HN on the account level.
  • amelius 11 days ago
    It is kind of ironic that so many professionals come to HN for a breath of fresh air, after which they continue building the UX they were escaping from in the first place.
    • abraxas 11 days ago
      Most visitors to HN are unlikely to have a significant voice in defining the UX of things they build for a living.
      • low_tech_punk 11 days ago
        Most stakeholders with voice in defining the UX of things they build for a living do not visit HN.
        • amelius 11 days ago
          I see many posts on HN about how to design a good UX. Are these posts made for the wrong audience?
          • pwinnski 11 days ago
            The hope is that the audience for these posts, generally indie developers building new sites from scratch, will one day be able to shape the existing large sites that can afford to employ the majority of developers.

            The reality is that the existing large sites that can afford to employ the majority of developers have PMs that mandate the horrific UX we encounter day to day.

      • SilasX 11 days ago
        Right -- I joke that HN's design weeds out people who both a) need a site to look glamorous, and b) are incapable of modifying it on their end to look that way. That probably has significant overlap with UX designers who determine other sites' looks!
      • amelius 11 days ago
        I thought this was a place for startup founders.
        • satvikpendem 11 days ago
          The culture has shifted over the last 15 years or so. Initially it was indeed for YC and YC adjacent founders, but it evolved into a general tech news and tech workers forum. I'm not sure of any other good startup-specific forum that hasn't descended into spamming links rather than cultivating good discussion.
        • johnmaguire 11 days ago
          Startup founders are certainly a minority of HN visitors.
        • zamadatix 11 days ago
          Sure, and a lot of other folks too.
    • eschulz 11 days ago
      It is, although I guess that's common in the modern world where mass value is created in an assembly line workplace
    • Justsignedup 11 days ago
      honestly, to me its not the UX.

      - it is a lack of disinformation, people here tend to push conversations in the right direction

      - it is a lack of advertising and bullshit articles

      It is like Craigslist. Everyone and their mother has tried to re-design craigslist, with yearly graveyards of competitors.

      The problem is CL's interface isn't the product. It is _already_ extremely useful, and so to get people to leave CL you'd need to give a value add on top of what seems to already be a pretty feature packed service.

      • askiiart 10 days ago
        > it is the lack of disinformation, people here tend to push conversations in the right direction

        Also due to the fantastic moderation (thanks dang!)

  • Jerrrry 11 days ago
    My only (primary, continuous, and ignored) complaint is that OP's text post's contrast matches the contrast of less-useful comments, making every Self-HN post seem subconsciously and automatically downvoted.

    It was "tradition,"? No, it's archaic and ironic for a site with so many A11y/accessibility advocates.

    • habibur 11 days ago
      PG did it in the early days, as far as I can recall. The point was to discourage descriptive posts, preventing it from turning into reddit, and rather encourage posts linking to tech materials.
      • Jerrrry 11 days ago
        emphasizing the <a> elements is practically, semantically, and technically easier than de-emphasizing the entire post text node.
    • thefifthsetpin 11 days ago
      I am just now realizing that greyed out text posts weren't downvoted.
      • yonz 9 days ago
        I believed the same thing for a while
    • kzrdude 11 days ago
      I agree. The comment section teaches the user to be suspicous of grayed-out comments, but then if we post a text post it's also grayed-out.
    • LLyaudet 11 days ago
      I thought the grey color for main post was to discourage us of reading it and to make us: - look only at the shared link when there is some, - or use the reader mode of our web-browser, - or make it harder to read and create a relief when we go back to our source code, ;)
      • LLyaudet 11 days ago
        But definitely, I would vote in favor of better contrast for main post.
    • coldpie 11 days ago
      I emailed them once asking to change that and kind of got a shrug in response. Maybe more emails will convince them?
      • valtism 11 days ago
        I also emailed them. Was asked for a minimal change to make it better and I suggested changing adding a class to the <td> to color: #333. This was in August 2021 but it hasn't been changed.
      • Jerrrry 11 days ago
        Another user mentioned the reply basically cited tradition.

        @dang, can we ever get a reply to this?

        either an excuse or an 0xFF in a .css stylesheet, please?

  • CoolGuySteve 11 days ago
    I feel like there's a systemic issue in modern software that HN is immune to. After an initial success, companies will hire tons of project managers and engineers to build new features and continue their growth. The result is a corporate paperclip optimizer.

    The problem is that these features won't get used and nobody gets promoted if they're not pushed to the front of UI so you end up with cluttered interfaces loaded with popups and other misfeatures.

    Reddit's new interface is a good example of this, but gmail has the same problem. Shit, even QuickTime/Real Player used to fight over Windows file extensions and taskbar icons in the 90s and it was horrible.

    Because Y Combinator's business model is different, HN more or less stays the same. It's kind of like open source Unix utilities in that way, nobody's pushing modal ads into the ls command.

    • wildrhythms 10 days ago
      Well said, and I see this happening all around me at <big corp>. Every project manager "needs" their feature front and center in the UI, and "needs" to educate the user on the fact that it exists! So you end up with annoying new feature bubbles pointing to the thing. And when it comes to measuring engagement, dismissing the feature bubble counts as a win!
    • one-another-dev 9 days ago
      I'll be a counterpoint to Reddit argument. I started out using the new reddit and I find it more usable than old.reddit site.

      Also old.reddit has very wide text lengths which makes reading a chore compared to new one where the character limit per line is conservative.

  • dewey 11 days ago
    I know what you are saying and I agree and am grateful for it's existance but keep in mind that HN is a marketing tool of a big VC fund.

    It has money to pay a moderator and doesn't need to directly make money from it by putting ads or tracking scripts up like other sites.

    • dang 11 days ago
      > It has money to pay a moderator and doesn't need to directly make money from it

      Yes, that's the sweet spot that HN ended up in, kind of by historical accident, and it seems to be a local optimum.

      If we had to make money from HN in any of the standard squeezy ways, it would get worse, which would degrade if not ruin the community. It would also be a miserable slog and who would want to work on that? so the quality would go down that way too. There are a lot of gradients along which the quality would go down.

      Because we don't have to do that, we can focus on just trying to keep the community happy, which boils down to trying to keep HN as good as possible. It's incredibly satisfying to just have to make something good. (Not that it is good...but that's a separate question, and this is the internet and we get graded on a curve.)

      There are a bunch of old comments here about how we/I think about HN vis-à-vis YC's business interests, if anyone is curious - https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so....

    • dredmorbius 11 days ago
      Appropriately motivated and principled patronage ... is a fairly good media model.

      Far superior to naked advertising. On par with public or membership sponsorship.

      • mopsi 11 days ago
        People often say that the internet would die without intrusive ad tracking. HN is a pretty good example of the opposite, and there are many others. An electronics store I frequent hosts old-school electronics forum, a nearby youth hobby center hosts news and forums for scale model building, and so forth.
        • Sohcahtoa82 11 days ago
          The smaller your audience, the less likely you are to get trolls and just the general population of morons.
          • dredmorbius 11 days ago
            True, though if that's your starting cohort, or they do move in in any significant way, You Now Are Having Troll Problem.

            Another element is that HN's audience is largely self-segmenting such that targeted advertising would probably offer little additional benefit. The startup-founder and tech-worker pools are already global and are largely automatically segmented (filtered for) by HN's content, site dynamics, and reputation.

    • mbil 11 days ago
      Yes, and there are often YC company job postings on the front page, which are technically ads.
  • mostlysimilar 11 days ago
    Hot take: I think the lack of mobile support is a feature, not a bug. Mobile interfaces are responsible for much of the noise of mainstream social media, they encourage short form content creation because the interface is too simplistic and typing on a tiny touchscreen keyboard is unpleasant and error-prone. By making the only viable interface a desktop interface you put up an additional barrier to that type of noise.
    • capableweb 11 days ago
      If you look at the HN stylesheet (https://news.ycombinator.com/news.css) there is actually some minor work being done to make it easier to use on mobile. It used to be much worse than what it is today.

      I use HN for both browsing and commenting on my phone plenty, although it could always be easier and there are some warts.

    • asdff 11 days ago
      The HN interface is mostly fine but the vote buttons certainly need to increase by 100% for mobile versions. I can't reliably hit them without zooming in quite a lot. It wouldn't dumb down the UI or anything to make the hitbox larger for these arrows if your viewport is so large.
    • ChrisMarshallNY 11 days ago
      I’m reading this on a phone, right now, and it’s perfectly usable.
      • tppiotrowski 11 days ago
        I think parent meant that mobile phone creation should be discouraged. Mobile phone consumption is no issue.
        • ChrisMarshallNY 11 days ago
          Fair 'nuff, but creating any kind of text content is a big fat pain, on most mobile devices. I'm not sure how much site design can help. This site is about as good as you'll get, there.
      • asdff 11 days ago
        OK now try and upvote this comment without missing the arrow. If you do, you have a lot more dexerity than I do at least. Its usable but certain elements are a little too small where it makes me misclick.
      • raverbashing 11 days ago
        Yeah, it's very usable on mobile

        It uses very little data, making it also useful to test those "is my connection bad or is it the website that's down?" cases

    • gardenhedge 10 days ago
      Agreed. Anything that has a mobile user base is pretty awful.

      See: Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, FB

  • kzrdude 11 days ago
    Thank you HN for showing (essentially) the same list of stories on the front page for everyone. A shared display of common topics is a good foundation for a good forum.
    • asdff 11 days ago
      OTOH it changes dramatically with time and certain topics seem to end up below the fold, even if its a couple hours old post with a lot of engagement. I wish there was a chronological sort with a threshold vote filter, I guess I can get that from hnrss though.
      • 93po 11 days ago
        hckrnews.com is exactly what you are asking for, I use it exclusively
    • amelius 11 days ago
      How do you know this is true?
      • kzrdude 11 days ago
        I'm guessing from what I see in incognito mode and logged-in. One reason I have a caveat in there, is that there is a button called hide, so you don't have to see particular stories.
        • amelius 11 days ago
          I was referring to the last sentence. How do you know this is a good foundation for a good forum?
          • kzrdude 11 days ago
            I don't know, it's an opinion.
            • aliqot 11 days ago
              how dare you
      • dang 11 days ago
        We don't know that it's true, but what kzrdude described is definitely part of the mental model (or, if you like, the DNA) of the site.

        https://hn.algolia.com/?query=silo%20by%3Adang&dateRange=all...

        • kzrdude 11 days ago
          That was interesting, thank you. I had picked up some of that by osmosis of course, but not read all that you linked to.
        • amelius 11 days ago
          Confusing terminology, imho. Facebook is a data-silo in this sense:

          https://www.techtarget.com/searchdatamanagement/definition/d...

          So the word already has at least two meanings in the context of IT.

          • dang 10 days ago
            Those usages don't seem so different to me. They both refer to isolated partitions. No?
  • dredmorbius 11 days ago
    The text-only / ad-free nature probably explains a fair bit of my own ... enthusiastic ... readership of HN (recent comment on which: <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34490839>).

    As for CSS tweaks, I've applied some modest changes to the basic style which are linked in my profile:

    Dred's HN CSS Madhackery: <https://pastebin.com/gLXiqKyd>

    Dred's HN CSS Madhackery -- Dark Mode: <https://pastebin.com/6PF3dCXH>

    Both can be applied using a CSS style management extension such as Stylus:

    <https://add0n.com/stylus.html>

    (For Firefox, Chrome, & Opera.)

    • gigama 11 days ago
      Thanks for these helpful links and tweaks. Customization and code sharing -- both in keeping with true hacker ethos.

      Got a good chuckle from the Stylus plugin privacy policy:

      "Unlike other similar extensions, we don't find you to be all that interesting. Your questionable browsing history should remain between you and the NSA. Stylus collects nothing. Period."

  • Terretta 11 days ago
    > My only ask is to revisit CSS a bit and make it mobile friendly. I.e slightly larger fonts and hit areas for expand/collapse. It’s too easy to hit the wrong button on a phone.

    There is a weird thing with the vote arrows on iPad in particular, if you tap the upvote arrow, the downvote arrow disappears first, then later the upvote arrow disappears.

    Always second guessing which arrow I've hit. Can only tell by looking at the text to unvote vs. undown.

    • kayge 11 days ago
      If any newer folks are wondering “… what downvote arrow?” it only appears once your Karma is above a certain level (501+, I think?)
      • dalmo3 11 days ago
        >=501. Coincidentally that's the exact number I'm on now, and just like GP said due to my fat thumb I'm always guessing whether I've up- or downvoted a comment.
  • rpgbr 11 days ago
    I use a simple custom CSS to: 1) increase font size; 2) limit line length, and; 3) change OP's font color:

      .comment,
      .toptext {
      max-width: 72ch;
      font-size: 16px;
      line-height: 1.5;
      color: rgb(27, 27, 27)
      }
    
    In Safari, using Userscripts extension: https://github.com/quoid/userscripts#userscripts-safari
  • nonrandomstring 11 days ago
    HN looks just perfect using w3m text browser, no js, no css. The clean HTML makes it feel like something running from a local server. Plus there's no "cloudflare" type nonsense blocking my Tor overlay. Excellent straightforward web.
    • frosted-flakes 11 days ago
      Clean HTML? It's nested spaghetti tables, which makes it super hard to write user styles for.
      • dang 11 days ago
        > hard to write user styles for

        Yes and that's probably the one thing that would get us to rework the HTML. That or if we could significantly reduce its size.

        Otherwise I see that HTML table goop as an advantage—the consequence of a clever design by pg years ago, which pays off every time I get to work on the code - https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu....

        I was going to add "and also a curmudgeonly throne to sit on" but maybe I'd better not.

  • ptx 11 days ago
    Hitting the wrong button on a phone is less of a problem that it might appear at first. An up-vote results in an "unvote" link being shown and a down-vote results in an "undown" link instead, so you can confirm that you hit the right button and undo the vote if it was wrong.
  • ipaddr 11 days ago
    Ad free? This is all part of one big ad. Ads are not evil though.. tracking might be.
  • jayant_kaushik 11 days ago
    Meanwhile, you can use third party mobile apps for HN that work perfect. Just type “hacker news” on the App Store (iOS) and you’ll see a bunch of apps. Try and see which one fits your usage style. I personally use the app called “HACK for hacker news” and it fulfils all I could ask for. I mostly browse and write on HN using this app. Not promoting this app, just helping fellow users.
  • fronterablog 11 days ago
    Totally agree.

    I feel the same when I open a good book and read without distraction for hours. It's like mental detox after social media full of short-form videos.

    We'll see a wave where what's timeless and simple make a return — like text-only content.

  • pcurve 11 days ago
    I visit HN a few dozen times a day. For it, it's like the stumbledupon with ability to comment. Best of both worlds.
  • real_jiakai 10 days ago
    At present, I use "modern for hacknews" chrome plugin. via: https://www.modernhn.com/ It redesigns the web interface of hacknews.

    In my andriod app, I will use Glider app to read hacknews posts. via: https://github.com/Mosc/Glider.

    In most cases, I would choose to use pc's browser to read hacknews. Maybe you can try my recommendations above to improve your reading experience.

    • spicysugar 10 days ago
      I use glider daily and i wish it was the defacto/official app for HN

      Really appreciate Glider.

  • apeace 11 days ago
    > My only ask is to revisit CSS a bit and make it mobile friendly. I.e slightly larger fonts and hit areas for expand/collapse. It’s too easy to hit the wrong button on a phone.

    Does anyone know why this hasn't been done? I find things are very small to click even on desktop. Seems there is a lot of low-hanging fruit that could be cleaned up.

    I don't like using plugins or custom stylesheets because I fear something breaking one day and giving me a headache (HN withdrawal). I also don't like using alternate HN viewers for fear that they will track me.

    • rebolek 11 days ago
      I have HN on 150% in Firefox on desktop (FF remembers individual scaling, not sure about other browsers) and on mobile I scale with two fingers. It's of course not a perfect solution but works.
  • webinvest 10 days ago
    Hey OP, there are bookmarketlets that you can save as bookmarks in your mobile phone browser to increase or decrease zoom size on any webpage or website. I don’t use them because I’m not at the age of using glasses or reading glasses for anything but they may be useful to you.
    • webinvest 10 days ago
      Save this bookmarketlet as “[+] increase font size”.

            javascript:var%20p=document.getElementsByTagName('*');for(i=0;i%3Cp.length;i++)%7Bif(p%5Bi%5D.style.fontSize)%7Bvar%20s=parseInt(p%5Bi%5D.style.fontSize.replace(%22px%22,%22%22));%7Delse%7Bvar%20s=12;%7Ds+=2;p%5Bi%5D.style.fontSize=s+%22px%22%7D
    • webinvest 10 days ago
      Save this bookmarketlet as “[-] decrease font size”:

        javascript:var%20p=document.getElementsByTagName('*');for(i=0;i%3Cp.length;i++)%7Bif(p%5Bi%5D.style.fontSize)%7Bvar%20s=parseInt(p%5Bi%5D.style.fontSize.replace(%22px%22,%22%22));%7Delse%7Bvar%20s=12;%7Ds-=2;p%5Bi%5D.style.fontSize=s+%22px%22%7D
  • janitor61 11 days ago
    This might date me but I'd love to see a resurgence of the Gopher protocol - maybe a touch more modernized, but still just plain text files with hyperlinks. Some sort of public-commons version of the overcommercialized web where advertising is very difficult but information is dense and discoverable.
    • efreak 11 days ago
      Gemini?
      • everybodyknows 11 days ago
        https://gemini.circumlunar.space/ rather than the like-named crypto site. I found no way to sample current discussions i.e. read-only, from a web browser -- software installation seems required.
        • efreak 11 days ago
          That's the one, yes. There's two web proxies listed on that page for browsing Gemini with a web browser.
  • Oras 11 days ago
    Totally agree.

    But I noticed I only accept this format from HN. I've seen some services tried to do the same or follow the same style and I wasn't as engaged with them.

    I suppose for HN because that's how it started, and I am confident about the quality of links/articles/comments. That's how I picture the value.

  • readonthegoapp 8 days ago
    I start to look for a workaround for mobile HN on Android every couple months and then give up after a bit

    Any suggested foxes don't seem to work

    Like accessibility settings

    Zooming in is lame and painful headline cut off etc

    Most of the alternatives also do not work as I want but the best I saw this time around was this one

    https://whnex.com/

    Author said he open to be pinged so I might ask for different font or better contrast or something

    I use chrome dark mode who knows what other flags I set

    • readonthegoapp 8 days ago
      Aaaand just like that, seems HN mobile original is fixed

      ie my fonts appear to be the larger size I now desire.

      Thanks!

  • jiripospisil 11 days ago
    I do find it hilarious that almost every day you read about a new shiny CSS / JS framework here on HN, all the while HN itself is using tables for layout. Hell, some pages don't have design at all (login page)! Maybe worse really is better.
  • 2devnull 11 days ago
    “only ask is to revisit CSS a bit and make it mobile friendly. I.e slightly larger fonts”

    record scratch

    No! I’ve been visiting daily on the smallest of phones for well over a decade. Please, please, please don’t change anything. It’s great as is. If it’s not broke, don’t fix!

    • frosted-flakes 11 days ago
      The font size is fine, but the buttons are tiny.
  • asim 11 days ago
    Bring back text only services! Everything should be accessible in some simple text UI that's simple and clean. I don't think that's possible by stripping back websites, maybe layers on RSS feeds, APIs with a new UX, etc, etc.
    • ploum 11 days ago
      You may be interested by Gemini…
      • tapoxi 11 days ago
        How does Gemini compare to Gopher?

        Slightly related, HN is available via gopher://hngopher.com

        • ploum 11 days ago
          Main differences are: - Gemini is conceptually simpler (no difference between map and text, straightforward URLs) - Gemini is easy to write (unlike gopher maps) - Gemini has mandatory tls (which may or may not be an advantage)

          But Gemini was created from within the Gopher community and there are very strong links between Gemini/Gopher users. Most Gemini browsers are also Gopher browsers.

          (My own turned into a web browser and RSS reader. I only need to add mail reading to have a complete office suite, see https://sr.ht/~lioploum/offpunk/ )

    • rchaud 11 days ago
      lite.cnn.io has been a revelation
      • apnew 11 days ago
        TIL! Thank you.
  • brhsagain 11 days ago
    I use HN to test my internet. If other sites don't load, I don't know if it's because they're just down, taking forever to load 20 MB of crap, etc. If HN doesn't load, my internet is broken.
  • inasio 11 days ago
    HN is my `ping google.com`, first thing I check whenever I connect to a new wifi connection (or when I hear my partner complaining that the internet is down).
  • roguesherlock 9 days ago
    I've been working on my own frontend for hacker news for a bit cause I wanted it look a certain way (basically larger fonts, easy on the eyes). You can check it out here to find any inspiration, https://hn.aaakash.xyz
  • spaniard89277 11 days ago
    I completely agree on this. I have nothing of substance to add, just say thank you.
  • entropicgravity 11 days ago
    It's interesting to note that the bare bones sites of Craig's List, Reddit and HN have some of the lowest costs and longest staying power. All content supplied by users and curated with care. (hello dang)
  • scarface74 11 days ago
    > While Reddit… ads looking like posts, HN has remained high signal to noise ratio.

    I have no sympathy for people complaining about ads on Reddit when they give you an alternative - you can pay a subscription to have them removed.

  • rajnathani 10 days ago
    +1. On a side note: The pure text-based interaction with ChatGPT is one big point for me to prefer it over Google for quite a few searches (this is besides that ChatGPT gives one direct answers).
  • dcchambers 11 days ago
    General shout-out to all the services that provide an optional text-only/minimalist interface, e.g. https://text.npr.org/
  • aliqot 11 days ago
    I wouldn't call it ad-free, but it is free from overt ads.
  • prenoob 11 days ago
    Everything OP said plus kudos for keeping RSS alive !
  • powera 11 days ago
    Well, actually, it's not "ad-free". There are fairly regular job ads for YCombinator companies on the home page.
    • dredmorbius 11 days ago
      But:

      1. Not within articles or threads. Contrast, say, the Washington Post which is currently inserting ... four ... ad placements per story ... and that's just within the text of a story itself. That excludes other interstitial nags ("see also" which are often very thinly-related if at all items), sign-ups, pop-ups, etc.

      (I'd recalled this being higher, four is still a few too many, but less than I'd thought.)

      And it's not just the ads themselves, but the motivations created around them for clickbait, sensationalism, etc., etc.

      Contextually-appropriate service-oriented (e.g., jobs) notices ... seem a highly reasonable option. Note too that HN also runs a free "who's hiring" and "who wants to be hired" thread monthly.

      • rchaud 11 days ago
        There is plenty of sensationalism in the comments, when the topics are similar to those that newspapers would discuss.

        Take for example the recent spate of techco layoffs. I think you'll find the discussion is not nearly as polite and detached as those on regular nerd stuff would be (Rust, React, Static Site Generators etc).

        • dredmorbius 11 days ago
          True.

          Though I make liberal use of the "collapse" toggle, and try to prioritise original content over comments (not entirely successfully, I'll admit).

    • dang 11 days ago
      Ok, I've squeezed an 'almost' in the title above. I suppose that's not strictly accurate either but I don't want to spoil the OP's sentiment too much.
  • type0 11 days ago
    It isn't ad-free, rather it has old school direct ads; what other popular web pages still run ads directly?
  • voisin 11 days ago
    I concur. Though I would love if the mobile experience made it a bit easier to click the vote buttons!
  • joshxyz 11 days ago
    I know right, of course the last part is all about our fat fingers misclicking things haha.
  • eric4smith 11 days ago
    Sometimes capitalism works!
    • SpeedilyDamage 11 days ago
      This site is wholly subsidized by YC and could not stand on its own, so I'm not sure it's a straightforward example of capitalism working...
      • smbullet 11 days ago
        How is this not a straightforward example of capitalism? This site is privately owned, therefore it is free to flow in the capital market.
        • SpeedilyDamage 11 days ago
          It's not a straightforward example of capitalism because it doesn't earn enough through its service to support itself, and must be propped up by an otherwise external entity.

          The concept of "private ownership" is not definitionally identical to the concept of "capitalism", I hope you realize...

          • smbullet 11 days ago
            Private ownership and the protection of those property rights are exactly what capitalism is. As long as there is no coercive entity dictating what YC can and cannot do with it's capital then HN absolutely is a product of capitalism.

            Capitalism doesn't mean "earn[ing] enough through its service to support itself". Why do you think that people are not free to finance sites that promote other branches of their business under capitalism?

            • SpeedilyDamage 11 days ago
              People are free to finance whatever they want, I don't care, it's just not a "straightforward" example of capitalism when they do.

              Spend money to make a thing -> sell that thing for more than it cost to make it. That's not happening here.

              • smbullet 11 days ago
                That's an interesting misconception of what capitalism is. I had not seen that one before. Thank you for sharing.
                • SpeedilyDamage 11 days ago
                  For what it's worth, I Googled "Define: capitalism" and when I saw:

                  > an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit.

                  I synthesized this to what I wrote above. If you disagree that's fine, but I think "for profit" is a critical aspect of capitalism, and while it's arguably true that HN provides YC with "a profit" it's an intangible and indirect one, which to me is not "straightforwardly capitalistic".

                  • smbullet 11 days ago
                    I'll admit I was a bit snarky but my thanks was genuine - I enjoy learning why people believe the things they do.

                    Anyways, my final argument is if an individual asset of a company doesn't directly generate revenue yet increases company profit, would it not be "un-capitalistic" if that company were to extinguish that asset? It seems to me that throwing away profit would be antithetical to that definition of capitalism.

                    The $30k espresso machine in the Google office does nothing to generate revenue, however it helps Google become more competitive in the labor market which (at least they think) increases profit. None of these situations are edge cases, they are just natural outcomes that exist when people are free to compete. If it is expected that a decision will lead to a profit, it seems straightforward that one would make that decision.

                    It was fun discussing this with you, I hope you have a good day.

                    • SpeedilyDamage 11 days ago
                      That sounds capitalistic, just not "straightforward" is all I was trying to say.
                • dang 11 days ago
                  Please don't be snarky and please make your substantive points without swipes. This is in the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.
          • dang 11 days ago
            That's an interesting question. It's true that HN doesn't earn revenue and that it could not stand on its own. But it's also true that YC is more valuable with HN than without it. I think you have to mark that in capitalism's column, even if it's a weird edge case.

            Maybe more companies should be more open to more weird edge cases and maybe that would make them richer and therefore more capitalist? I don't know.

            • SpeedilyDamage 11 days ago
              My focus was on the word "straightforward" more so than trying to argue that HN isn't "capitalism".

              It's definitely capitalism, and arguably highly effective at that, I just don't think it's "straightforward" is all.

              • dang 11 days ago
                Ah ok. I agree!
  • colesantiago 11 days ago
    Agreed, I wish more sites were like HN, fast, free and ad-free, text only and no bullshit algorithmic garbage shoved in my face.

    All it needs is dark mode and it's perfect.

  • iammjm 11 days ago
    i love you guys
  • alpenbazi 11 days ago
    very true, i fully commit to that statement
  • fredwashere88 8 days ago
    Dang
  • schemescape 11 days ago
    Mobile friendly CSS is long overdue :)
  • cleverKnight 10 days ago
    would highly recommend https://hckrnews.com/ to make your experience even better.
    • petodo 10 days ago
      I used hckrnews but they are displaying either very few articles or too many, I find serializer.io better alternative where I switched from hckrnews + it remembers/synchronize what you read already through unique URL
  • flanbiscuit 11 days ago
    IMO, Reddit is still usable but only via https://old.reddit.com. I still use Reddit daily, but I can't stand the horrific new design. I also highly curate my subscribed subreddits and use multireddits to combine subject matters.

    On Android I use Reddit Sync[1] (which has an ad-free pro version I paid a one-time $5 fee for).

    I worry about the day they discontinue old.reddit.com, or decide to cripple third-party apps in order to steer people toward their official apps. I wouldn't put it past them to do something like this. All it takes is a new CEO, or their investors, wanting to see more profit. They'll probably lose users but I bet the amount of people who use Reddit like I do is decreasing over time (speculation, maybe I'm wrong) so it might not be a significant amount.

    1. https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Red+Apps+LTD...

    • bambax 11 days ago
      I too only use Reddit via old.reddit.com; if it was ever discontinued I would stop using it... but I don't think I would miss it much.
      • cainxinth 11 days ago
        The funny thing is old.reddit is reddit. It’s the actual content I want to see. The new design is just a layer of cruft on top that I don’t want.
    • mschild 11 days ago
      I'd highly recommend https://i.reddit.com for mobile. Significantly better experience for me.
    • ptasci67 11 days ago
      Just as an alternate data point, I personally prefer the new design as I find it more inviting, and easier to browse on mobile. I think both should exist because there are enough people who prefer the old way but it does beg the question of whether it is worth supporting both from an engineering perspective. I'm sure it has a real cost to Reddit.
      • flanbiscuit 11 days ago
        For mobile web, I can see how the new design would be an improvement there. The old site doesn't even support mobile.

        I posted a reply to another comment here about some of their stats accessible to mods of subreddits. So far it seems to me that enough people use old.reddit.com to make it worth it.

        https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34506885

    • Semaphor 11 days ago
      All I can say is that when I post copies of code or recipes, but with the markdown fixed for old, I usually get quite a lot of upvotes. So depending on the sub it might be significant (of course, I’m also not in any huge subs).
    • sbayeta 11 days ago
      I've been browsing Reddit using Reddit is Fun on android and it's a delight to use.
  • dumbaccount123 11 days ago
    Reddits "new UI" is so bad, surprised they're still trying to save it.
    • marginalia_nu 11 days ago
      It's kinda embarrassing. It's been I don't know how many years, and pasting text in the comment field still breaks the new reddit UI.

      I don't know how to explain it. Does everyone on the new reddit dev team use old.reddit.com so they don't notice this extremely obvious bug?

      • CoolGuySteve 11 days ago
        Yeah, I find so many bugs in reddit that it's surprising to me that a more streamlined replacement hasn't arisen.

        But I get shouted down if I say my experience with Elon's buggy Twitter 2.0 is about on par with how my reddit experience has been for years and yet reddit is still massively popular. Shrug.

        I guess it's hard to believe that sometimes market conditions can overcome bad engineering and then you add all the politics around Twitter's layoffs and people get raw.

        • capableweb 11 days ago
          > But I get shouted down if I say my experience with Elon's buggy Twitter 2.0

          What visible changes have been done since Elon took over Twitter + are buggy changes? I hardly notice anything different to be honest. There is a view counter and more people have the blue checkmark, otherwise things mostly seems to be the same. The ads panel (for publishing ads) is as broken as it has always been, so seems it has neither improved nor declined.

          • CoolGuySteve 11 days ago
            Well here's what the people who said reddit is great and Twitter sucks yelled at me:

            - They went down in Australia for a day.

            - The "For You" tab keeps selecting itself.

            - The Twitter feed keeps injecting randos that aren't followed.

            - Nothing is there when you click on a notification sometimes. There are phantom likes and retweets.

            - For a while people were unable to change their display name or 2FA would break.

            - The view counter doesn't match the analytics view counter.

            - Latencies are high

            Apparently nobody can agree if a website is bad. Depending on whatever you're arguing, one is great and the other is terrible.

            As for reddit, I've been getting phantom notifications, incorrect comment counts on posts, and a 10-15 minute block of "Reddit is down" pages on a monthly basis for years. So as far as I'm concerned, they're both pretty bad.

          • marginalia_nu 11 days ago
            I've had a few instances of data inconsistencies. Like a tweet says it has three likes, but you check which who's liked it it's only one person.

            Still very far from the same league as new reddit's jank.

    • Someone1234 11 days ago
      Once Old.Reddit and third party apps like Apollo go away, I'm done with Reddit. I'm already interested in competitors if anything crops up that might be a suitable replacement.

      Unfortunately they're already funneling rich media into their own broken solutions, so things like streaming video is unreliable if people upload it to Reddit directly.

    • kibwen 11 days ago
      For me, the worst thing is how few comments show up by default in the comments sections. As a moderator of a large subreddit, the new UI is unusable because I can't quickly glance over a massive thread, I'd have to click through to a hundred sub-pages. If they ever remove old.reddit.com, I don't know what I'd do. It's a shame, because the redesign has some actually useful tools that I'd like to be using, but the basic experience is so poor. Every other aspect of the redesign could be fixed in the client with CSS rules, and the slowness and bloat could at least be tolerated.
      • ryandrake 11 days ago
        It's madness. Even old.reddit.com is littered with "load more comments" links that you have to keep clicking through to read. A comments section with 2000 comments should be easy to serve in a single static page. It's just text!
        • dang 11 days ago
          I agree and it will be a fine day when HN doesn't do that anymore.
    • cloudking 11 days ago
      • dewey 11 days ago
        • dredmorbius 11 days ago
          1. At a certain point, the dark patterns are just not worth rewarding.

          2. Teddit rewrites all Reddit URLs to the Teddit host. Reading Reddit via old you'll still be redirected to the standard "new" site if "www.reddit.com" is hardcoded into a link, and it very, very, very frequently is.

          3. Teddit's persistence works even if you're not logged in (which is to say: always, as you can't log in via a Teddit instance). Reddit's "just set your profile preference to "old" requires logging in and can lure you into visiting or posting "www.reddit.com" links rather than "old.reddit.com" links.

          Cumulative dark patterns on Reddit spurred me to all but entirely abandon the site years ago. I no longer post updates to my own (several) subreddits, nor actively moderate (again several), though with some regrets on that last (a dark pattern itself).

          I'll occasionally visit to research something, or post for support for tools which principally use Reddit for support (DuckDuckGo, Firefox, and Onyx, presently). That's ... down to a few times a year.

      • avree 11 days ago
        It's like the old reddit UI, but... broken (at least on Safari on Mac OS)
    • dewey 11 days ago
      Reddit without using https://apolloapp.io is impossible for me. I wonder when they start cutting off third party apps like Twitter.
    • jack_riminton 11 days ago
      Yep, absolutely horrible. Thank god they still allow old.reddit.com

      The iphone app is even worse. The swiping UX is seemingly random, video player is terrible etc etc

    • iLoveOncall 11 days ago
      Sunk cost fallacy undoubtedly.

      Reddit is really unusable for me with the new UI.